I did a full review of iSymphonic Orchestra about a week after it was released and, while I was impressed by the sound quality, I wasn’t quite so convinced about the overall package. However, the app has had a number of updates since then and these have added new features, new sounds (included in the base price of the app) and further sound options via IAP. It is now a much better proposition and, for orchestral sounds, probably as good as it currently gets under iOS.
As I posted about a month ago, the Canto IAP (UK£8.99) was added in the last update (v. 1.4.4) bringing 19 new patches that cover various choir ensembles and spiccato strings. As with the other sounds within the app, the sampling is – for iOS – pretty detailed as this add-on requires a further 860MB of storage space on your iDevice.
A further update to iSymphonic Orchestra hit the App Store a few days ago. This takes the app to v.1.5.5 and, rather quietly, represents a big step forward for the app from a technical perspective; this version adds Audiobus support. While IAA had been included within the app previously, JACK support is also present which is Crudebyte’s own audio connectivity app. However, with Audiobus dominating that role within the iOS music making world, I think adding Audiobus support to iSymphonic Orchestra is a very sensible move. Having given this a bit of a test run over the week-end it seems to work well… and I’m sure will broaden the appeal of the app considerably.
The other new feature is a further IAP offering additional sounds. For UK£8.99, you can now add the Boato Sound Set. This adds 13 sounds (you can see the patch list in the screenshot) that include some impressive drums, tubular bells, a glockenspiel and a number of new orchestral variations. As with the other sounds available in the app, sonically, these are all very impressive. I particularly liked the Epic Drums patch and the Tubular Bells patch but the various additional string sounds are all very smooth and the Orchestral Hits patch is also welcome.
Priced originally at UK£37.99 and with a fairly hefty 800+MB download for the base app, iSymphonic Orchestra perhaps wasn’t going to ever be a casual purchase for your iOS music app collection. However, with considerably more content and features in the current version compared to the original release, there has also been a bit of a shift in the pricing structure recently and, at present, the base app is UK£22.99.
Given the sound quality and multi-timbral operation, this now strikes me as a very good deal and, if you are serious about your orchestral sounds, very well worth exploring. The new Audiobus support is going to encourage a fresh batch of potential users to take a look… and if you like the base iSymphonic Orchestra app, there are now some excellent options for additional content via the various IAPs… and you might also check out Crudebyte’s companion app Oriental Strings if you want to add some further string-based options to your sound palette.